Well, you're right, language proficiency and the ability to communicate is really one of the foundation pieces for successfully integrating and finding employment in the labour market. It's something that research at CIC has confirmed again and again. Along with a person's other factors, such as age, level of education, and experience, language is really one of the indicators of success.
So as part of the work to modernize Canada's federal skilled worker program, Minister Kenney has recently announced some changes to language requirements. Beginning this year, applicants looking to apply through this program are required to have their language proficiency in either official language assessed before they arrive, by an independent party, to determine whether they have enough capacity to speak in one or both official languages.
As you might be familiar, there's a points grid on which we select immigrants based on 100 points. Language now comprises 26 of those points. It's now the highest factor we look at, representing its importance. So now points for language under the points grid are being based not just on an informal discussion with the visa officer or an assessment of the person's application, but also on a third-party assessment of that person's capability.
We also know that professions might have even higher language thresholds to be met. One of the things we're working on with the ministerial instruction occupations is to determine whether professions that have additional language training can either provide some further training to applicants pre-arrival, or inform them that they will need to reach a higher language threshold if they intend to be licensed in their profession, and then provide them with supports towards that, with perhaps developing things like occupation-specific vocabulary, for instance. These are some of the projects that our various departments have been funding.